How did Irish Voodoo Records come about? What encouraged you to set it up and how long was it gestating before taking flight?
Irish Voodoo Records is a DIY label out of Southern California with bands like Ruined Tongue, Results, Birth And Burial, Colors and many more. They're pretty busy right now, with new releases in the pipeline and distro full of hardcore goodness. Here's an interview with the guys behind the Irish Voodoo who drop some knowledge on what is it like to run a label, future plans and more.
I never wanted to start a label, at the time i was in a band called A Witch's Distance, after we recorded and released a demo, we were back in the studio again to record new songs to shop around, but as a band, we decided to self release it. I had no funds to start a label, no name for the label, no logo, just had nothing.
And the label name, where did that come from?
So around 2004, I was thinking, if we are going to self release it, I want it under a name, so since I'm Irish, I said IRISH VOODOO RECORDS. At the time, and even now, I think it sounds good. I was into lots of punk style music or underground, so I didn't want a name to sound like a hardcore label, or just be a hardcore label, cause I'm into metal,post hardcore,or some form of punk. So the first release was the A Witch's Distance CD, It didn't have a logo or release number, cause I wasn't sure yet about doing a label.
You have quite a few cool bands lined up for the label now, like Results, Decisions, All Your Might or Birth And Burial among others. What plays into your decision when choosing which bands to work with?
Results changed to Worlds Below, great songs, great band, pick up the new 7" lol nice plug, anyways when my band was playing shows, I would see other bands on the bill with us. I would say, they are cool, they should have a release out, but lots of the bands are young kids and don't have the money to make a demo, let alone self release a cd or vinyl. So I started setting up DIY shows, at any place that would let me, with bands i liked, that we played with to make a relationship with them and to get to know them better. That's when I decided to start this label and release music, in my opinion, should be heard.
Based on your experience of running a label, what advice would you give to someone interested in doing the same thing? How to go about finding new bands, promoting early releases etc.?
Well if your serious about doing a label, do it for fun. I love hardcore, If i wanted to make money, I wouldn't do hardcore/punk/metal label. I don't make money, my goal is to make my money back for future releases and merch. I still go to shows, so sometimes i see band, and keep tabs on them from the bands myspace,twitter, or facebook, that way i can see if they are serious and play lots of shows and tour. I still get demos in the mail, and I listen to all of them, a little fact, the bands Shadows and Ruined Tongue are two bands on the label that emailed me or sent in a demo to check them out. So bands, email me too, or send me music, it never goes to the trash, I listen and keep everything. As far for promoting, I don't do big adds in magazines, so the bands playing as much as they can and touring is the best way to promote a release. I wont lie, Myspace helped with sales in the beginning, I still use Myspace, but Facebook and twitter is better, or online fanzines.
Has running a label, which obviously gives a lot of satisfaction but also means dealing with some bullshit as well, changed a way you look at hardcore scene in any way?
Well I'm a little guy, DIY all the way, so I don't deal with as much bullshit as bigger labels, but I'm a positive kind of guy, so I can look pass the bullshit. I have been involved in hardcore since 84, I'm 38 now. I hate saying "back in the day", but it's hard sometimes. I just change with the times.
What’s the biggest mistake to avoid when running a label?
That's a good question, I am too nice sometimes, I hear it all from bands, for example, "we want to tour and make this full time" "We have big things coming up" I did that once, and spent lots of money on a band, and they break up week after the release, so its a learning process for sure. Don't just jump on every band, keep tabs on them, to make sure they will work hard for you, as you will work hard for them.
You must be getting a lot of submissions from the new hardcore bands. What in your opinion is the state of hardcore music nowadays?
I love it, I get lots of submissions from good bands, just sometimes I don't have the funds, or I would release a record for every band that sends me a demo. I'm a old school type of guy, and I'm hearing more and more old school style hardcore which I love.
What are your thoughts on hardcore nowadays, when did you first discover the genre and what exactly is it about this type of music which makes you happy?
My first show was in 84, My oldest brother took me to see Black Flag, I was scared for my life seeing a bunch of older bald sweaty guys killing each other, but the music was real, nothing I heard before. Then I got a tape of Minor Threat, that turned me on to straight edge. Till this day I'm still edge and proud of it. I like the fact that hardcore was about crowd participation, a brotherhood. I still feel the same about hardcore now that I did when i was younger, sure things change, but still love it. I know we have the internet now, but I like paper fanzines at shows, That's how I found out about bands, its cool, cause kids I see at shows are bringing it back, even doing cassettes again.
What’s next in the Irish Voodoo pipeline? Anything else you'd like us to ask? Or anything you'd like to plug/mention?
Lots going on for 2011, COLORS new 7" is out now, SHADOWS double 7' is in the works, RUINED TONGUE 7" dropping very soon, new bands, and our website got a make over. I think what your doing with with HardBoiled is great, we need more people like you. If your not in a band, start a zine, label, pass fliers at shows,book shows, anything to keep hardcore alive.